Back to Basics: Omaha (part 2)

We have already mentioned that poker comes in a variety of flavours, with Texas Hold’Em being the “chocolate”, while the other variants attract their own crowds in smaller numbers – though not less passionately.

A close second in popularity goes to Omaha, a type of poker that resembles Texas Hold’em, with few – yet important – differences. A fundamental one and a good reason why Texas Hold’em retains its popularity level is that Omaha is typically played in pot-limit version, whereas Texas Hold’em is famous for the no-limit, anything-can-happen kind of games.

(for a review of poker hand basics please check out the first part here).

A game of Omaha poker starts with 4 hole cards being dealt to each player. This significantly increases the odds for each player to form lucky combinations, but there is a twist: for the final combination a player must use two of the cards in their hands, irrespective of other cards made available during flop, turn and river.

The rest of the game follows the same sequence as Texas Hold’em: pre-flop, flop, turn and river, with all the betting in between.

As one may imagine, starting off with 4 cards significantly increases the number of possible combinations and, in fact, this complexity is quite exciting for Omaha enthusiasts. On the flip side, a player must be rather knowledgeable in all things poker, otherwise risk either missing on a valuable winning hand or, conversely, to put too much faith in a rather weak hand.  

While far less popular than Texas Hold’em, Omaha has its own charm and it’s easy to see why certain players would find it appealing. Most online poker sites are sure to include it, while physical casinos may be less ready to have an Omaha table ready for action.  

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